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03.19.2012 DorobekINSIDER: IT strategic plan; ACT-IAC plans for 2012; and smartphone security

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Happy Monday — I hope you had a good weekend.
And I’ve had a bunch of people ask me about the new iPad. I don’t have it… YET. Yes, it was supposed to be delivered Friday, but… we are putting on an addition at home and there was an electrical issues, so… I wasn’t home on Friday to get it. I’ll get it today and report back, of course.

On today’s program…

  • Everybody is thinking mobile. And there will be a plan very soon. We’ll get a preview from the federal Deputy CIO Linda Schlosser.
  • The American Council on Technology and the Industry Advisory Council have been bringing government and industry together for decades. We’ll talk to the leaders of both of those organization about what is changing in 2012.
  • Do you have a password on your smartphone? We will tell you why you just may want to do that.

All that ahead…

But after the break… we’ll start with the stories that impact your life for Monday the 19 of March, 2012… your government world in 120-seconds…

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Written by cdorobek

March 19, 2012 at 8:12 PM

DorobekINSIDER: Amazon’s cloud coup: Frank DiGiammarino

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Frank DiGiammarino

Frank DiGiammarino

Amazon’s Web Service’s government arm has scored a coup — hiring Frank DiGiammarino, who left the White House late last year.

The DorobekINSIDER has confirmed that DiGiammarino has been named Amazon Web Service‘s director of innovation and global expansion for Amazon Web Services, which is mostly known for books but has been making a big play in the cloud — and in government. And that includes some smart hires. Last year, Amazon hired Teresa Carlson, who had led Microsoft Federal.

DiGiammarino left the White House earlier this year where he served as an advisor to the Vice President for recovery implementation and director of the Recovery Implementation Office. In that job, he was responsible to ensuring the $787 billion in stimulus got out into the economy as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Here he is at 2010′s Gov 2.0 Summit talking about the stimulus spendings impact on innovation:

DiGiammarino is widely respected, previously serving as the vice president of strategic initiatives for the National Academy of Public Administration, where he helped created the innovative Collaboration Project. The Collaboration Project was developed along with Lena Trudeau, who is now at the General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service’s Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic Innovations. It was designed to be a place where government could collaborate around collaboration.

This is only the latest in some high profile people jumping into the cloud. Carlson joined Amazon Web Services last year, and Viveck Kundra, the former federal chief information officer, announced that he is joining Salesforce.com.

After the break… read DiGammarino’s full bio…

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Written by cdorobek

January 24, 2012 at 3:07 PM

DorobekINSIDER: GovLoop issue of the week: CES, CES Government, and mobile

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GovLoop InsightsWelcome to the GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week with Chris Dorobek.

Each week, our goal is to where each week, our goal is to find an issue — a person — an idea — then helped define the past 7-days… and we work to find an issue that will also will have an impact on the days, weeks and months ahead. And, as always, we focus on six words: helping you do your job better.

This week, we’re going to get geeky… we’re going to embrace our inner nerd. This week was the annual gadget-a-thon known as CES — the Consumer Electronics Show out in Las Vegas. I got to attend for the first time this year — both to CES and CES Government. One of the key speakers was Steve VanRoekel, the federal chief information officer. And later on, we’ll have highlights of his speech, and talk about what it means for you.

Also later on, we’ll have our weekend reading list — the weekends are a good time to rejuvenate — but also some time to take a step back and ponder. And we’ll have some reading that may guide you as you work to think outside of the box.

But after the break, we’ll have our look at the week that was for the second week of January 2012… plus the full Week in Review…

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DorobekINSIDER: Kundra names Schlosser as deputy federal CIO

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Lisa Schlosser has been appointed the next deputy administrator in the Office of E-Government and Information Technology in the Office of Management and Budget. She will start in that post on July 5, sources tell the DorobekINSIDER.In that role, she effectively serves as the deputy federal CIO.

Schlosser has been at the Environmental Protection Agency since 2008, initial overseeing the Office of Information Collection and most recently as the principal deputy associate administrator for EPA’s Office of External Affairs and Environmental Education. Before that, she was the CIO at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. (NOTE: This information has been updated at of 06.02.2011.)

She will replace Mike Howell, who left the OMB post late last year to become deputy program manager for the Information Sharing Environment.

Schlosser is widely respected within the CIO community and she has an impressive resume having experience across a wide variety of issues, including cyber-security. She also served as a military intelligence officer for the Army. Her efforts have also been recognized with Federal Computer Week’s 2008 Fed 100 award and the Laureate Award by the Computerworld Honors Program.

Before HUD, she was the associate CIO and chief information security officer at Transportation Department and she served as the vice-president for Business Operations and Response Services for Global Integrity and a a senior manager for Ernst & Young.

Schlosser is a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves and did a tour of duty in the Middle East during the Iraq war.

Read her full bio after the break:

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Written by cdorobek

June 1, 2011 at 4:15 PM

DorobekINSIDER: Pre-panel prep: Building a bridge between IT and acquisition

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Communication is difficult — any of us who have been married have learned this lesson the hard way — and we do it over and over again. And in organizations, it can be intensely difficult.I get to moderate a panel next week that looks at the issue of communication between agency IT and acquisition organizations. And improving that relationship cover four of Federal CIO Vivek Kundra’s 25 point IT management reform plan (PDF):
Align the Acquisition Process with the Technology Cycle
13. Design and develop a cadre of specialized IT acquisition professionals
14. Identify IT acquisition best practices and adopt government-wide
15. Issue contracting guidance and templates to support modular development
16. Reduce barriers to entry for small innovative technology companies
On Tuesday, April 26, I get to moderate a fantastic panel of luminaries to talk about the issues and challenges of bringing IT and acquisition. (More information about the 1105 Government Information Group’s Federal IT Acquisition Summit here.)

The panel:

  • Linda Cureton, Chief Information Officer, NASA Headquarters
  • Simon Szykman, Chief Information Officer, Department of Commerce
  • David Wennergren, Assistant Deputy Chief Management Officer, Department of Defense
  • Roger Baker, Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology, Department of Veteran Affairs
Read our discussion points… and add your thoughts… after the break…
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Written by cdorobek

April 21, 2011 at 5:39 PM

DorobekINSIDER: Shutdown – will is happen, and are you prepared?

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Today is the day — potential shutdown day.

While there are reports that progress has been made in budget discussions, midnight is the deadline. (National Journal has a great blow-by-blow about how we actually got to this place… after six continuing resolutions.)

National Journal’s insiders are saying that there will be a government shutdown… and the Gallup poll suggests the public wants a compromise, while the Pew survey shows sharp division among the public about who is to blame for this mess…

But what about the DorobekINSIDERs? We are asking you –

 

 

and…

 

 

Some resources:

OPM has an entire shutdown page – including a FAQ – and OPM’s contingency plan.

GovLoop has a list of 10 pre-potential showdown to-do items… and one might be investing in you.

Written by cdorobek

April 8, 2011 at 8:40 AM

DorobekINSIDER: Two must read shutdown docs

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It’s looking increasingly likely that the government will shutdown — at least for a period of time.

Today, the Office of Management and Budget posted a memo: Planning for Agency Operations During A Lapse in Government Funding. [PDF]

It says that feds will have four hours to do what they need to do before the government fully closes.

Read the full memo below:

View this document on Scribd

The other is a fascinating report out earlier this week from the Congressional Research Service: Shutdown of the Federal Government: Causes, Processes, and Effects [PDF]

Among the impact of a shutdown, according to CRS:

* Health. New patients were not accepted into clinical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) clinical center; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ceased disease surveillance; hotline calls to NIH concerning diseases were not answered; and toxic waste clean-up work at 609 sites reportedly stopped and resulted in 2,400 Superfund workers being sent home.

• Law Enforcement and Public Safety. Delays occurred in the processing of alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives applications by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; work on more than 3,500 bankruptcy cases reportedly was suspended; cancellation of the recruitment and testing of federal lawenforcement officials reportedly occurred, including the hiring of 400 border patrol agents; and delinquent child-support cases were delayed.

• Parks, Museums, and Monuments. Closure of 368 National Park Service sites (loss of 7 million visitors) reportedly occurred, with loss of tourism revenues to local communities; and closure of national museums and monuments (reportedly with an estimated loss of 2 million visitors) occurred.

• Visas and Passports. Approximately 20,000-30,000 applications by foreigners for visas reportedly went unprocessed each day; 200,000 U.S. applications for passports reportedly went unprocessed; and U.S. tourist industries and airlines reportedly sustained millions of dollars in losses.

• American Veterans. Multiple services were curtailed, ranging from health and welfare to finance and travel.

• Federal Contractors. Of $18 billion in Washington, DC, area contracts, $3.7 billion (over 20%) reportedly were affected adversely by the funding lapse; the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was unable to issue a new standard for lights and lamps that was scheduled to be effective January 1, 1996, possibly resulting in delayed product delivery and lost sales; and employees of federal contractors reportedly were furloughed without pay.

Another CRS report: Government Shutdown: Operations of the Department of Defense During a Lapse in Appropriations. [PDF]

Interesting reads as we face Friday’s deadline.

[HT to the Federation of American Scientists, which regularly makes CRS reports public.]

Written by cdorobek

April 7, 2011 at 6:11 PM

DorobekINSIDER: OMB’s government performance self-assessment

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The Obama administration’s chief performance officer self-assessment of how the federal government is doing so far: “I believe we are off to a good start, and that we are developing the momentum required for meaningful, sustained improvements in how the government works for the American people.”

In a memo to the Senior Executive Service from Jeff Zients, OMB’s Federal Chief Performance Officer and Deputy Director for Management, titled, “The Accountable Government Initiative – an Update on Our Performance Management Agenda,” Zients lays out the administration’s management plan — and how the administration is doing so far.

Here is the memo:

View this document on Scribd

Written by cdorobek

September 14, 2010 at 9:29 AM

DorobekINSIDER: OFPP recertifies NIH governmentwide contract

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The DorobekINSIDER has confirmed that the Office of Federal Procurement Policy has recertified the National Institute of Health Information Technology Acquisition & Assessment Center’sChief Information Officer – Solutions and Partners 3 (CIO-SP3), one of three governmentwide acquisition contracts.

There was widespread speculation that OFPP might not recertify the NIH contract — and Federal News Radio’s Jason Miller has been reporting that there has been a real focus whether there was a proliferation of multiple-award contracts. (See Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s special report — Contract Overload, which focused on the multiples of multiple-award contracts out there.)

Here is the OFPP decision:

On July 20, 2010, the OMB Director designated NIH as an executive agent for the Chief Information Officer Solutions and Partners 3 (CIOSP3) GWAC and the CIOSP3-Small Business GWAC.  Each GWAC will offer a wide range of IT services, with a particular focus on health-related IT services.

In deciding whether to grant the designation, OMB carefully evaluated a business case NIH developed to justify the need and value of its proposed GWACs.  To supplement this information, OMB conducted a significant amount of outreach with different stakeholders in the acquisition community, including agency users of NIH’s existing GWACs, agency managers of GWACs and other interagency contract vehicles, Chief Acquisition Officers and Senior Procurement Executives, trade associations, and Congressional staffers.

OMB approved the request based on several factors that promise enhanced value for the Government and our taxpayers.  NIH’s proposed GWACs will fill an important need by agencies with health-related responsibilities, including those in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  The programmatic expertise of its in-house scientists and medical experts will provide strong support for the award and management of its contracts.  The new GWAC vehicles will also provide increased opportunities for small businesses in Federal contracting, allowing agencies to tap into the talents of this community as they work to achieve best value for their missions and our citizens.

Written by cdorobek

July 22, 2010 at 3:46 PM

DorobekINSIDER: An open letter to OMB: Stop the public sector bashing

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An open letter to OMB Director Peter Orszag:

Dear Mr. Orszag,

I write this with a certain regret. I have tremendous amount of respect for you and the work you have done over the years. And I appreciate the Office of Management and Budget’s initiative to cut waste across government — and improve the use of IT. I have been covering government IT for nearly 20 years — and, as I wrote in Federal Computer Week years ago, I firmly believe that the government can use technology to accomplish its mission more effectively.

And I think the administration has taken a number of positive steps in its first 18 months.

And therefore, I was pleased with Monday’s OMB announcement about the initiative to cut waste by reforming government IT. Federal News Radio’s Jason Miller reported on the policy memos — he has been out in front covering this issue.

There are three steps to the plan:

  • Fix federal financial systems — a critical step
  • Stepped up and detailed reviews of troubled IT systems
  • A plan for improving the federal government’s overall IT procurement and management practices. That plan will come within by October.

I even read the policies [PDF]:

Unfortunately, I was disappointed with your post on the subject. It included this line:

While a productivity boom has transformed private sector performance over the past two decades, the federal government has almost entirely missed this transformation and now lags far behind on efficiency and service quality. We are wasting billions of dollars a year, and more importantly are missing out on the huge productively improvements other sectors have benefited from.

Quite simply, we can’t significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the federal government without fixing IT.

The emphasis is mine, not yours. But, to be honest, I found the wording unfair… and disappointing.

A few points:

It is utterly untrue to say that the federal government has “almost entirely missed this transformation.” I have been covering government technology for nearly 20 years. During that time, there have been remarkable strides. Today, IT touches just about every facet of every part of every business in government — and has utterly transformed certain parts of government. In fact, I would argue you would be hard pressed to find a part of government that hasn’t been transformed by IT.

Is there more to be done? Absolutely, and I give you and your team credit for your IT initiative… but it leads to the second point…

Please oh please retire the tired, tedious comparison between the public and private sectors. I would argue that it simply isn’t true because it isn’t a fair comparison. The challenges facing government agencies are, in many ways, larger in scope — and they are more complex — than those faced by most private sector organizations. And there are scores of cases that make this point. The one I often use are Homeland Security’s efforts to secure ports from potential terrorism. That mission can be accomplished: We can enlist resources to stop anything from coming into or out of the country. That would bring trade to a screeching halt — and having the same result on the U.S. economy… clearly not an option. And opening for any and all trade is also not an option. So the federal government has the unenviable task of finding the mix of those black-and-white options — essentially, they have to determine what is the right shade of gray.

That task is even more complex because those decisions are subject to constant hindsight review — sometimes years later. And then layer a complex management structure… within agencies… within the executive branch itself… and within Congress.

And none of this even touches on a almost utterly broken budget process where agencies are assigned money months into the fiscal year — and then told that they must spend it before the end of that fiscal year.

But even beyond that, the public-private comparison is specious because it is overly broad. What are you talking about when you highlight the private sector? Is the model General Motors? AIG?

We all have worked for private sector organizations where we have been amazed by what we deem as inefficiencies — or organizations that have terrible service quality. I now no longer use my United Visa card — put out by Chase Bank — because just about every third charge is rejected. Even worse — try to find a Chase official in their credit card division to contact.

And what are you talking about when you lambaste the public sector? There aren’t any examples of government agencies that use technology effectively?

Last year in AFCEA’s Signal magazine, I pleaded for a stop to this public-private comparison. What is most insidious about this private sector envy like the one in your post is that it feeds the false notion that government cannot do anything right, and that public employees — and public service — are somehow inept. It infers that somehow the problems agencies face are intractable… that government cannot — and does not — change… and that somehow government performance and government innovation are oxymorons.

To be blunt, it is unfair.

And even beyond that, it does something that I know you abhor: It adds no value. It adds nothing to the discussion.

You raise important issues — ones faced by both the public and private sectors — at what point to you cut off a troubled system by making the determination that continuing would be throwing good money after bad. It is a tough decision to make.

But some of the troubled programs mentioned — the Department of Veterans Affair’s financial management system and FBI’s Sentential program — are complex.

In the end, the issues you are facing are not new. I’d point to Raines Rules, published in 1996 by then OMB Director Franklin Raines to get a handle on IT systems.That OMB memo, issued under the title, “Funding Information Systems Investments,” was quickly renamed Raines’ Rules. And it became a seminal document for guiding IT management. The rules issued guidance for complying with the Information Technology Management Reform Act, which eventually became part of the Clinger-Cohen Act. It essentially set the criteria for evaluating major information system investments — and they read as if they could have been issued today.

There are issues — and I think even feds will give you credit for working to fix problems.

Again, I’m not taking away from this initiative — and the work that you and your OMB management team are doing is very important. But the slams against government are unwarranted — and unnecessary. That rhetoric simply is… not helpful, to be kind.

Sincerely,

Christopher J. Dorobek

Written by cdorobek

June 29, 2010 at 7:11 PM

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